Friday, May 6, 2011

The Myth of the Dawn Chorus

One question that I've been asked repeatedly over the years is "where do you go for the dawn chorus?"  The simple answer is "nowhere."  The dawn chorus is a wonderful experience.  If you are up in the High Point area, you might hear loads of American Robins, Wood Thrushes, Ovenbirds, American Goldfinches, and other common local breeders all singing at once. What you probably won't hear is a pile of migrant warblers sounding off to be placed on your list.

Migrants are looking for food, mostly in the form of insects.  At dawn, it can be quite cool.  In fact, it can be freaking cold!  Moisture in the form of dew can also make things very damp.  There aren't a lot of insects moving when it's cold and damp. The time to find migrants is a little later, in places that catch the sun first and warm up early.  The insects will be active here first, along with the migrants that feed on them.

So when you hear a dawn chorus on any other day, by all means enjoy it to the fullest.  Just don't make it part of your big day plans to stand around listening to it for 20 minutes.

No comments:

Post a Comment